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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Mar 27, 2013 10:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This is Spinal Tap

I can understand some hardcore fans being disappointed with the new direction the band took in 72' with Keith and Donna and the new material/format because it was considerably different from 67' through mid 69',but if you were still going in 70' it wasn't drastically different in terms of types of music or venues and I doubt if there was a large turn over in the type of people in the crowd.1971 was an anomaly and I don't see how a fan would have had any idea what direction the music was going to take.Although I can see where the crowd might have been undergoing an early version of the "touch head" phenomenon in 71'.As for the professional and predictable aspects their sets could not have been more predictable than 68'-69' at least in late 69' they started to add a bunch of material and mix up the way some of the older stuff was presented,for the acid -testy aspect I guess you had to be there.

What I'm getting at is if you really like their music I can't see how 72' style Dead is so far removed from 68' style Dead that you would no longer want to listen or go.I think at the very least 68'-74' would have a similar appeal,understanding that the music in some ways was very different.I was a staunch early era fan when I started going in 78' and while a little delusional still thought they could pull off music in the GD tradition.

Variety was what I was eluding to in the format comment,different types of music mixed up in a way as to create a certain type of flow to please the crowd and band alike.Not knowing what they were going to play is more myth than fact,within reason you could guess the opener or the ballad,rocker,blues or country slots,and as time went on the second sets became ridiculously predictable as the tour played out,what lent an air of anything could happen was clever use of the "break out",they would pullout Comes a Time or St. Stephen and and then you would hope for others or just to catch the latest break out and this would also create a sense of anticipation from song to song at a show or show to show on the tour.Around 82' or 83' I started to get the feeling that the music was becoming less important and understood by the crowd and and the band could just show up.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 27, 2013 2:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This is Spinal Tap

I guess if you were following lots of shows on a tour, you could predict what the next setlist might bring (I forgot about that) - and for sure you'd know "the format" (jam>drums>space>ballad>rocker, etc). But there was still some unpredictability about what songs would come up, combined with your hopes that it might be certain favored songs...

It's true, Dead shows were never more predictable than in late '68/early '69. Maybe they just felt more chaotic to people who were there & didn't know the Dead's regular "format" of the time. ("Didn't this song start an hour ago?")
By 'acid-testy' aspect, part of that I think is the feeling that the band is not separate from the crowd, that everyone's joined together in making the music happen. As venues & crowds got bigger, I gather there was more of a feeling of separation or distance from the band.
Also, late-'60s concert-goers sometimes mention the unpredictable aspect of seeing how the band would get it together on any particular night - would the jams find new zones & soar? or would the band fall flat? In reviews there are often references to the band struggling with the improv or searching for the right connection, something that's harder to tell on tape. Once the band were playing more reliably consistent shows in the '70s, this aspect might have diminished.

I think there's a pretty big difference in feel between just '70 and '72, let alone earlier/later years - but then, I tend to focus on microscopic differences between years.
People at the time definitely noticed that some songs, like Viola Lee, had disappeared, and you can hear lots of forlorn people calling for "Alligator" or "Stephen" well after they'd expired.
But it's true a lot of the material is still the same, and lots of the fans were probably still the same too - I'd guess only a fraction of the "fans" dropped away.
But, looking at lots of reviews of the time, I can't help but notice how many times I see "they're not like they used to be," and often not approving. There was sometimes shock from people who'd worn out their Anthem or Live/Dead albums, then they came to a show and got a light country-rock outfit. (And maybe there's always a "they were better a few years ago" bias!)
Then again, historically we see that the Dead also picked up a lot of steady fans BECAUSE of their constant changes in style, and keeping things new. So, going in the '70s, you might come to expect that they'd do something different this year than last.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Mar 27, 2013 7:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This is Spinal Tap

If you were paying attention you were very rarely surprised,there was no feeling of anything is possible,but more of a good it's Stella,not Black Peter than I wonder what it's going to be.

Not having gone to any early era shows I can't speak to the vibe of what the crowd was like or what it felt like to listen and watch the band,but I can't say I put much stock in what I've heard and read from folks who did.I'm of the opinion that the music we have on tape is a good enough representation of that performance,I don't need stories from a sketchy source or to have been there first hand to grasp the music.

I find there are differences between each year through 79' and big differences between 70' and 72',but my thinking is if you really like to hear Jerry,Phil,Bob and Billy play music together there is enough commonality from 68'-74' to find something to like from each year and your reaction wouldn't be they suck now because it's not as "energetic" or it's too country,etcetera.I don't get how the Anthem or Live/Dead fans would have been shocked to hear the band had changed some since the bands most popular records Workingman's and American Beauty had to radio staples at the time.I think you hit it on the head with "they were better a few years ago" theory.I can see people bemoaning the loss of material they really liked as a reason for losing interest,but in that time span they didn't shelve that much stuff outside of the few you mentioned.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 27, 2013 3:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: This is Spinal Tap

"...looking at lots of reviews of the time, I can't help but notice how many times I see "they're not like they used to be," and often not approving. There was sometimes shock from people who'd worn out their Anthem or Live/Dead albums, then they came to a show and got a light country-rock outfit. (And maybe there's always a "they were better a few years ago" bias!)"

That's me in a nutshell; as I've made clear, I did still considered them THE best thing since sliced bread, so this was along the lines of what we do here (since we love them more than anyone else it gives us the right to be brutally honest).

But, yes, we kept thinking that these changes weren't always for the better, and that some of it was "oh, it's the jazz influence like WoftheFlood", but some was, "hmmm, maybe they just can't manifest that level of intensity anymore..." as I've mentioned prior.